Opportunities for Connection ~ June 2023

Farewell Message from Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray

Headshot of Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray

As her time as UUA President winds down, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray shares a message of appreciation for the work we’ve done together and excitement for what’s to come. Some of her proudest moments during this time include fulfilling the Promise and Practice campaign to fund Black Lives of UU, implementing the recommendations of the Commission on Institutional Change, leading UU the Vote campaigns in 2020 and 2022, and supporting UUs to show up unequivocally and courageously for LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities and for people with disabilities.

In this moment of great challenge and cultural change in our world, Rev. Frederick-Gray reminds us that Unitarian Universalist values matter. This is an opportunity to be bold and unwavering in living and leading in love. We have done amazing things, and we will continue. With excitement for our next president, Rev. Frederick-Gray is confident in how new leadership will guide us through these continuing fraught times.

Watch on UUA YouTube

General Assembly 2023 - CER Meet Ups and More!

GA On Demand with a clock for the o in on

General Assembly 2023 is coming to Pittsburgh, PA! Join us June 21-25, 2023 in-person or virtually to worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through the democratic process.

  • The Central East Region is setting up several meet ups in-person and virtually for our attendees to GA. Please check the Whova app for additional topics, dates and times for both in person and virtual gatherings.
    • Congregational Presidents - Friday, June 23, 11 am, in person Convention Center room 325
    • Virtual CER Participants - Wednesday, June 21, 3:15-4 pm,

      Connect with other Central East Region folks attending virtually. We'll introduce ourselves, connect, and swap tips for doing GA online before we all join the Virtual GA Orientation. Link in the Whova App.

    • Virtual CER Participants - Thursday, June 22, 11:45am-12:15pm.Online check-in space for Central East Regional folks attending GA virtually. Casual drop-in space for making connections and asking questions. Link in the Whova App.
    • Virtual CER Participants - Friday, June 23, 11:45am-12:15pm Online check-in space for Central East Regional folks attending GA virtually. Casual drop-in space for making connections and asking questions. Link in the Whova App.
  • The GA App by Whova will be available to all in-person and full virtual registrants June 1. Learn more at the UUA GA webpage.
  • Regional Staff across the country are sharing our expertise on a variety of subjects at General Assembly! Look for these on-demand workshops:
    • Creating a New Future for Struggling Congregations - created by the Southern Region
    • Faithfully Finding Balance: Reaching in and Reaching Out - created by the Smaller Congregations Team
    • Spiritual Leadership: Becoming Who We're Born to Be - created by the New England Region
    • Conflict, Destructive Behavior, Our Bodies, and Our Brains - Created by the Pacific West Region
    • Making Your Congregation an Employer of Choice - created by Lisa Presley of the Mid-America region along with Jan Gartner from the Office of Church Staff Finances, and Sean Griffin from Stewardship and Development
    • The Repercussions of Misconduct - created by Sunshine Wolfe of the Central East Region, Sarah Millspaugh of the Pacific West Region, and Terasa Cooley, author of Transforming Conflict
    • UU the Vote: Run for Office! (2023 Edition) - created by Carlton Smith from the Pacific West Region along with the UUA Organizing Strategy Team

General Assembly registrants (online or in-person) will have access to these workshops during and after General Assembly through your participation portal. The workshops will be available to everyone through the UUA website in the fall. Register for GA today!

NEW DATE! Central East Region 2023 Security Update Training

UUA logo in rainbow colors, PNG format

Many of our congregations have experienced security threats in recent months, from protests to destruction of property to disruption in events. This program will offer a presentation on the core needs in safety and security: prevention, response, and after-care. We will have brief worship, workshops, and time to speak with other congregations about the work they are doing and/or questions they are reflecting on.

All members of UU congregations and communities are welcome to attend- particularly members of staff, boards, religious education committees, and safety teams.

Saturday, June 3, 2023, 12-3 pm ET, online. Cost $10 per participant. Register Today!

Creating Intentional Summer Communities

CERSI and UUMAC logos together

Many people have an intentional community that brings them joy and sustenance. It might be a fiddle camp, quilting retreat or one of the of the many other options out there. It is intentional, you will only sign up for fiddle camp if you play or love the fiddle. And there is community, a community that shares your values and interests. That intentional community gathers each year. The bonds are strong even though people often see each other during that one week because of their shared interest and time spent together.

CERSI (Central East Region Summer Institute) has been an intentional UU community for over 40 years. It started in the Ohio Meadville District (OMD), known as Summer Institute. The very same year another group in the Mid Atlantic area of our country started having a weeklong intergenerational intentional community, UUMAC (UU MidAtlantic Community). For 40 years both camps have run successful programs the 2nd week in July. Hundreds of UUs have participated in these intentional communities.

Read the rest of the article. Do note, registration rates go up June 1!

Our Whole Lives Trainings for All Ages Coming!

Our Whole Lives logo.

Our Whole Lives Facilitator Training for Secondary Levels, July 21-23, 2023, Wilmington, DE. Registration is open.
Our Whole Lives Facilitator Training for Elementary Levels, August 11-13, 2023, York, PA
Our Whole Lives Facilitator Training for Adult Levels, August 11-13, 2023, York, PA
Registration opens soon for the two York, PA trainings.

Do check our calendar often for updates.

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is an excellent, comprehensive sexuality education program that offers participants the opportunity to explore their values and gain accurate information about topics that are often not easily accessible. The overall goal of the Our Whole Lives program is to help participants gain the knowledge, values, and skills they need to lead sexually healthy, responsible lives. The goals of this workshop are to prepare the participants to implement the curriculum as well as the Sexuality and Our Faith component. Through a varied program including practice and participation activities, the trainers will cover implementation techniques, curricula details, and technical information. You can see all trainings at the UUA Our Whole Lives Facilitator Page.

Helpful Habits Board Retreat

crew of rafters working together to get a yellow raft through the rapids on a river

August 5, 2023, 9-12 pm ET, online, $15 per person. Registration is open! Help your board develop good decision-making processes by developing helpful board habits.
Self-paced pre-work will include frameworks such as governance, conflict and change dynamics, cultural competencies, fiduciary responsibilities, efficient meetings, mission-based budgeting and decision-making, self-differentiation and boundaries, and spiritual grounding. In the live session you will be able to engage with board members from other similarly-sized congregations as you work on case studies and creative problem solving. You will also be given planning tools for a self-directed goal-setting session.

Leading Large: Board Training for Large Congregations

Leading Large: Board Training for Large congregations 8/26/23. Cartoon of people around a table with one large thought bubble above them.

Are you a board member of a large “corporate” sized congregation with multiple staff focused on mission, policy, and strategy? Your LeaderLab team is offering a training especially for you! Self-paced prework will include frameworks such as Hotchkiss's Governance and Ministry partnership, conflict and change dynamics, cultural competencies, fiduciary responsibilities, efficient meetings, mission-based budgeting and decision-making, self-differentiation and boundaries, and spiritual grounding. In the live session you will be able to engage with board members from other large congregations as you work on case studies and creative problem solving. You will also be given planning tools for a self-directed goal-setting session.

Saturday, August 26, 12-4 pm ET. Pre-work will be available on August 1. $200 per congregational team. Now Registering!

Leaders: Mark Your Calendars for Next Year's CER Skill Ups

CER Leader Skill Up. CER Leadership Skill Ups for changing times monthly calls start with Worship to Center and ground your yeaer. Spetember 7th, 7-9 pm ET

The Central East Region team is excited to announce our monthly Leadership Skill Ups for Changing Times series next year! These are drop in calls for all congregational leaders where you can learn a new skill - or fine tune an old one - with CER staff and other leaders doing similar work in other congregations. Join us on Thursday, September 7th at 7 pm for our worship service launching the year. Calls alternate monthly between Tuesdays and Thursdays – mark these dates on your calendars and stay tuned for topics as they emerge – and let us know what topics would be helpful to you. All times are 7-9 pm ET.

Thursday, September 7th: Gathering Worship for Leaders in Changing Times
Remaining dates: Tuesday, October 3rd, Thursday, November 9th, Tuesday, December 5th, Thursday, February 1st, Tuesday, March 5th, Thursday, April 4th, Tuesday, May 7th
The link to join the Skill Ups will be provided next month.

Boundaries and Covenant


A Blog by Connie Goodbread, Acting Director, HOPE for Us Conflict Engagement Team

When we lean into creative conflict, doing our best to create courageous space, we must understand that it can’t be accomplished without setting boundaries. I would never suggest that anyone should put up with any kind of abuse. In loving relationships people should know one another’s needs, fears, hopes, vision, how we each like to be treated, what we long for – so that all may flourish. In loving relationships people need to set boundaries and accept the boundaries of those we love.

Read the rest of the blog.

Better Together Blog: Introducing Lenore Bajare-Dukes, CER Congregational Life Staff

headshot of Lenore Bajare-Dukes

by Lenore Bajare-Dukes

A few months ago, I sat next to a long-time member of a UU congregation, holding a microphone as they told me and about 40 other worshippers about deciding to come to church that day. At the front of the sanctuary, five other members of my theatre troupe held themselves ready to “play back” this story with their voices and bodies. It was an unusual worship service, even by our UU standards – one in which the content came as stories from the pews, reflected back by actors through ritual, music, and artistry.

Read the rest of the article

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Better Together Blog: Antiracism Spotlight: Jubilee III and Jubilee Kids

Rev. Sunshine J. Wolfe

by Rev. Sunshine Wolfe

Unitarian Universalist congregations and communities across North America have long engaged in opportunities to learn about and build anti-racist communities. Many in the Central East Region have participated in Beloved Conversations, Living the Pledge, held White Supremacy Culture Teach-Ins, attended local events on abolition and reparations, engaged in audits to learn about work their communities need to do, and voted to become 8th Principle congregations. What all of us have learned through this is that it is important to continue the work of learning and growing, whether about our own history and experiences as racially marginalized people or as white allies, accomplices, and companions. One workshop experience that helps deepen this work is Jubilee- most recently Jubilee III and Jubilee Kids.

Read the rest of the blog post

News from the UUA

The Three C's of Staff Relations Training
Good staff relations are a vital element in supporting healthy and vibrant congregations. Whether you are in a new transitional ministry position or serving a congregation where you are settled, connecting to and building collaborative relationships are of primary importance. The Guild of Interim Religious Educators invites you to explore “The Three C’s of Staff Relations – Covenants, Conflict, and Communities.” , September 28, 2023; 11:00 – 2:00 ET. Congregational professional staff are invited to attend as a team or as an individual.

Flower Communion Resources in honor of the 100th anniversary of flower communion can be found on the UUA website. They include music, readings, and an in-depth conversation with Rev. Dr. Petr Samjosky, who serves as minister of the Prague Unitarian Congregation.

The UUA has a Disaster Relief Fund for those who want to make a donation to help congregations who have faced losses due to tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires and more. Please donate if you can. Learn more about the work of the Disaster Relief Fund. If your congregation needs assistance, you can apply for a grant on that webpage. We are Better Together.

Virtual Guest in Your Pulpit! The UUMA has a list of virtual speakers, check it out to see who is available! Visit the Virtual Guest in the Pulpit Database to see who is available. Also, don't forget to check out the CER Guest in Your Pulpit program, which includes both lay and professional worship leaders.

New publications from the UUA - Available now for preorder is Authentic Selves: Celebrating Trans and Nonbinary People and Their Families , interviews by Peggy Gillespie. The Discussion Guide for the 2022-23 Common Read: Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism by Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin.

The UUA is hiring for several positions. Find job descriptions and application information at their Job Openings webpage.

Calendar Items and News

For events, webinars and congregation news and events visit the following pages:

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